Blogging Strategy 201: List Building

May 23, 2012By

At the end of yesterday’s post, Blogging Is Not About SEO, I teased about list building.

The title of this post is Blogging Strategy 201: List Building. This is in reference to the idea that building referrals with your blog is Blogging Strategy 101.

During my very first days in the direct mail industry I learned that the money was in the list. For decades, companies have used list building as a way to generate revenue. All the catalogs and letters and other items you receive in the mail are all because you are part of a list. These lists are what make company’s money.

A buyer list is the ultimate for any company. You probably already have a list of your buyers. You can upsell them with new services. You can sell them new products. They are already your customer. You did the hard work of acquiring them. You built your customer list.

Blogging Strategy 201 is simply understanding that a blog should be used to build your lists. A blog will most likely build your prospect list. These are folks that visit your blog posts by referral. Someone they know may have emailed them a link to a post or shared it on a social media channel. Another person may have written an article or blog post about your company and inclued a link to your company. Maybe this person they trust simply told them face to face about your company and they went directly to your site. They may have even searched on Google to find an answer to a question and Google organically (free) provided your blog post as the best option to refer.

The referral is the first step in the process.

Now that you have visitors it’s time to build your list.

Blogging Strategy 201: List Building

Lists in the online world have allowed people various options for subscribing to content. Originally it was a mailing lists or a phone number list. Today those two are still important (more on phones and mobile later), but more important are email lists, social channels, and other similar feed options.

The goal for your blog is to convert new visitors into subscribers. Ultimately you want these folks to buy something. If that happens right away then great, but more often it’s better to focus on getting new visitors to opt-in to your list. This means they want to receive more content from you in the future. Once the trust is built it is likely the subscriber will buy something.

Darren Rowse – perhaps one of the most successful bloggers of all time – advocates list building. He has found great success with email marketing. It’s important to focus on collection email addresses on your blog. Entice new visitors to opt-in to your email list. Give them reason to sign up. Tell them about future content and maybe even offers.

You need new visitors to opt-in to your list otherwise it’s unlikely they remember to come back to read more content. It’s possible, but unlikely.

Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are also good for list building. They are less reliable than email, which you own, but still good. A big list of followers (subscribers) on Facebook is great, but Facebook, like Google, has been known to change their platform. This can potentially cause issues if you only focus on building your list with social channels.

In the near future you’ll probably want to try and collect mobile opt-in information as well. Many folks are using smartphones to access content. It will be important to have a list of smartphone subscribers. This could be email, social or texting.

The content on your blog and getting referrals should be the first steps in your blogging strategy.

The next step will be building your list. From here you can focus on your email marketing strategy or list strategy as a way to increase sales.

The money is in the list.

It’s a phrase that became standard in the direct mail industry. It still applies to the online world including your blogging strategy.